Monday, January 30, 2012

Privacy Lost!

Here's my latest; it's about trying to take a shower for any length of time after you have kids. And in my case, a cat. You can see it in the Philadelphia paper here:

First the kids, now the Cat 

But, here it is in its entirety!

Any parent will tell you; once you have kids, the word “privacy” exits your vocabulary with alarming speed. In fact, children are the antidote for privacy, whether they’re toddlers or teens. Once they become teens, you hope that they value privacy, which they do.

Theirs. Yours, not so much.

And nowhere is your lack of privacy more obvious than when you want to take a nice warm shower.

When the kids are little, a mom can take a shower in under a minute. Most parents wait until the kids are taking naps, and then bring the baby monitor into the bathroom with them. Even then, they leave the door hanging open, no matter how cold it is. We want to be sure that if the baby monitor suddenly gives up the ghost, we can still hear the kids.

My kids, unfortunately, weren’t prone to taking naps; nor did they sleep much during the night. It was as if they had a weird aversion to sleep in all its forms. If I didn’t have my beloved mother in law, Gretchen, around to keep an eye on them, I’d set up the playpen in the bathroom.

It’s only been recently that I’ve begun to purchase hair conditioner. Me, and probably most moms, considered that product a luxury that our limited time couldn’t afford. We usually walk around looking like we just stuck our fingers into an electrical socket.

Whoever invented leave in conditioner had to have been a mom.

One would hope that as our kids get older, leisurely showers would return. Trust me; the operative word in that last sentence is “hope”.

Prisoners have more privacy.

No matter how many bathrooms you have in your house, it never fails. As soon as you step in and get wet, there’s a knock on the door; it’s as if they have a sixth sense. No matter how many bathrooms you have in your house, somehow all hair styling products, Band-Aids, Tylenol, and extra soap have migrated to your bathroom shelf. And they must get their hands on it NOW.

Once, I’d just gotten in the shower, when the obligatory knock on my door came. It was one of my daughters looking for face cream. This is the same cream that had been purchased well over a year ago, used once, forgotten about and then, unbeknownst to me, managed to migrate to my bathroom shelf. It had suddenly become the Holy Grail of face creams, sought after with the fervor of Indiana Jones and had to be applied immediately or her face was going to melt clean off.

I admit, however, that just this week, I took a full ten minute shower without the door opening or closing once. I got out into a toasty room and saw steam on the mirror. I became disoriented, threw my robe on and ran out of the room to be sure I was still in my house.

In the last year, it’s not just been my kids that have invaded my privacy in the shower.

Elyse got a cat named Bandit. He’s as cute as a button, but he’s one of the oddest cats I’ve ever known. He’s fascinated with the bathroom. He runs into the room after a toilet is flushed to watch the water swirl.

His fascination with water is baffling, as when we first got him, he was prone to climbing on our kitchen counters. Considering that he may have just gotten out of the litter box, we weren’t happy about that. So, I bought a water bottle, and sprayed him every time he jumped up on them. It didn’t take too long for him to equate being doused with water as punishment and the counters as forbidden territory.

Imagine my surprise when while taking a shower, the curtain began to move. Startled, I looked around and saw nothing. Until I looked down. And there was Bandit, staring at me in disbelief as the water was pouring over me.

I could almost hear him say, “You must have REALLY done something wrong!”

If I’m being honest, though, this is just a blip of time in the hourglass of our lives. The kids grow so fast, it seems they change a little every day. Watching that process is one of the joys of being a mom or a dad.  Besides, there will be years to take long, hot showers without a kid knocking at the door.

And, oh, how I’ll miss that knock.

Here's a picture of that adorable cat, Bandit. He has me wrapped around his little paw - and boy does he know it.

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